Renderings for New House

Back in September of last year, we engaged an architect to kick off the process of getting some renderings and floor layouts for the house we would like to have when we finish. After a few rounds of initial drawings, we decided on what is shown below, except that I changed the second floor layout on my own.

Here is the initial layout that we started with,

Planned first floor layout,

Proposed second floor layout,

Planned second floor layout with my final changes, the biggest change being the move of the master suite to the opposite side of the house,

The outside elevations. There are already a few small changes, but the biggest noticeable change is that there will be no small porch extending from the second floor.

Why You Should Never Do Plumbing Work on Sunday

One Sunday afternoon, I decided it was time to replace the faucet in our one and only bathroom. I also decided to tackle that project at around 4:45pm.

“It’s a faucet. It should only take an hour at most to replace.”

I went about my business turning off the hot and cold shutoffs below the sink that go to the faucets. I wanted to replace the tubing that ran from the shutoffs to the faucets. I knew I had to be very careful, but I didn’t realize how fragile the cold water shutoff was. One small bit of torque on the tube connecting to the shutoff and bam, the whole shutoff snapped off the wall where it meets the tile and we had a water hose going in the bathroom. I yelled for my fiance to bring a bucket while I ran to shut off the main water supply to the house.

At that point, I rushed off to Home Depot for supplies to cut off water going to the sink from the basement. Luckily, Home Depot is open late enough on Sunday for me to get supplies, but I ended up spending a few more hours getting supplies and some emergency plumbing to shut off water from going to that sink, at least for the cold water supply, so that we could turn water back on for the house. Not fun!

What I was left with, was a broken pipe, flush with where it meets the tile. I would have had to open the wall up to fix the problem anyway, and most of the walls had putrid pink and black tile, so it wasn’t much of a leap to decide to redo the whole bathroom.

I took off a few days from work the following weekend and started in on stripping the bathroom down and replacing everything with some help from a few friends. It took a weekend and a couple days to get things close and a few weekend following to get things where they needed to be.


Notice the wire mixed in with the tile cement. That made the tile removal much tougher than expected.


My fiance’s dad helped with the electric work. The results just would not have been half as good if I was on my own.


My dad jumped in again to help with exhausting the fan through the roof. Went with a Panasonic FV-11VQ5 WhisperCeiling 110 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan, White. You can’t go wrong. Super quiet!


We used sound insulation inside the interior facing walls.

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We hired out the plastering. They had the bathroom done in just under 3 hours. Some of the best money spent in the project.


Strapping was for bead board wainscoting.

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First time tiling on my own.

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We also had a special guest appearance, but the plumbing perfectionist, Ryan Tremaine. He did an awesome job on my shower mixing valve.


With painting done on the exterior and the backyard leveled out, it was time to start in on the landscaping. A lot of the perennials we planted were very young, so most of them do not have the size even close to what they are today, but we had to start somewhere.

What you see here is mostly just a quick planting of things with mulch thrown down, but at the time we were so psyched and felt so good that the house was at least respectable within the neighborhood now.

Small secret to share that you cannot see from any of the pics, I primed the back side of the house, but never got around to painting it. The neighbors are going to be excited when the remodel starts and finishes, I’m sure. The Munroe’s will finally have one color on all four sides.


Level Out Backyard April 08

As noted in the Backyard Jungle post, there were a lot of trees and bushes that needed to be removed from the backyard. After removing that mess, the back yard was noticeably lower than some of the neighbors. We brought in a lot of fill to try to level things out as much as we could.

Some friends of my dad’s from the fire department built a ramp extending from the driveway into the backyard

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After the ramp had been built, we started bringing in some unscreened loam and spread it out.IMG_1612-270563999-OIMG_1608-270537984-OIMG_1609-270537583-OIMG_1610-270564314-O


Next, came screened loam and a Bobcat rental, fun stuff.IMG_1432-287275444-OIMG_1433-287275610-OIMG_1435-287276034-OIMG_1436-287269044-OIMG_1439-287269455-OIMG_1440-287269616-OIMG_1443-287270012-OIMG_1444-287270159-OIMG_1445-287270323-OIMG_1446-287270466-OIMG_1450-287271298-OIMG_1451-287271508-OIMG_1454-287272164-OIMG_1455-287272350-OIMG_1457-287272828-OIMG_1456-287272604-OIMG_1459-287273324-OIMG_1460-287273547-OIMG_1461-287273832-O

Repaint June 2007

As summer rolled in, it was time to get some lipstick on the pig. I called in some help from a few friends, and we got to work painting the outside over a few day period. One of the benefits of having a small house, is that activities such as painting do not take as long.

Here are a few pictures taken from about midway through the painting process, up until finish:

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Pain the walls, paint the trim, paint the door, remove an ugly aluminum door, and you get some decent results.

Received Building Permit

One milestone out of the way. Our GC left the building permit at our house last night. Finalizing some things with the bank this week and seems like the contractors schedules are inline to start in about another week. Looking forward to getting things started. 


permit in window

Clean Up Inside Started in Early 2007

Since there was only so much that could get down during quick weekend visits from Washington at the time, my dad jumped in to help out. He tackled many things, but the two major items that had the greatest initial improvement inside was to sand and refinish the floors and get some fresh paint on most of the walls. Not only did those changes have a dramatic impact on the cosmetics, but those changes also rid the house of some of the old, basement like, musty smell. The previous owner was a very old man who could not do anything to take care of the property for 15 years before passing, so there was a lot that was let go.


Yes, check out the bed in what is now the living room. What a disaster the set up was until we finally moved in for good. Loving the CRT TV, as well and the cheesy duvet cover and quilt that doesn’t even fit. Keeping it classy!


The counters, covered with beautiful wall paper had yet to be changed out, but the cabinets, as drab as they were, started to look like something somewhat respectable for living. It’s surprising what some paint and new hardware can do to even the more dire looking cabinets.

Hey Dad, you’re the best and have always been there to help. We can’t thank you enough!

Back yard Jungle

One of the first items Lauren and I tackled was to tear down the jungle that had grown in the back yard. We got most of everything cut down to ground level during weekends while I was home visiting from Washington state. We bought the house before I moved back home. Lauren was still living in Massachusetts. She was a trooper helping to cut down everything. I remember a lot of cold miserable days in the middle of winter cutting, sawing, and chopping away. Here are some photos of changes over months time. Photos will come later showing the back yard after being filled and flattened.IMG_0682-234639906-OIMG_0681-234639296-OIMG_0680-234639286-OIMG_0670-234640579-OIMG_0669-234640532-OIMG_0668-234639918-O055-234641810-O





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We made a pile of all of the wood scraps that were cut down. I hired a tree company to come and take it all away, shredding, etc. It was $600 to have them do that. Well worth it. There was a lot of wood to get removed and some of it was nasty and snarled together.